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« Elsewhere | Main | Oakeshott on Conversation »

August 02, 2003

Web Brilliance

Friedrich --

The time has finally come for traditional artists to give up the fight. To just lay down those clunky old analog tools. What's the point in carrying on a battle that's already lost?

OK, so I'm raving and overstating. Still, thanks to links supplied by a friend in the ad biz, I've been looking at the websites of a couple of brilliant digi-designers, and my mind and eyes are dizzy from doing happy backflips. (I was struck so dumb -- in a good way -- by this stuff that I thought of titling this posting "Holy Fuck!!!!")

Word to the wise: fast connections only.

* Yugo Nakamura's site, here. Imagine a horizontal line about a half inch up from the bottom of your screen; there's a line of dots there. Run your cursor over them, click on a few -- and enter mischievous miniature universes that are like cyber versions of Mallarme poems.

* And a page of trippy, gorgeous Flash (I assume) things by the British designer Daniel Brown (and some collaborators) here. Be sure not to miss my two faves, here and here. Lava lamps, only about a zillion times better.

Whew: interactivity, beauty, wit, play, moods. And more art 'n' talent 'n' creativity on display here than in --

OK, I am raving. Still: pretty darn cool.

Eager to know your reactions.



posted by Michael at August 2, 2003


Pretty, yes but has a huge drawback.

Its doesn't exist.

Just electrons and code and smoke and mirrors. To spend all that time and engery on something that can't even be touched seems folly. Maybe I put too much stock in the physical reality of something, but creating something that can be felt, placed in a room, stuffed in a vault...seems more satififing than some fantasia with light. Computer work isn't rewarding, you can work for hours and never feel like you accomplished anything. Plus, computer art is a hothouse flower, it assumes and requires so much of the viewer (You need a computer, you need a fast connection, a flash add-on) A magnetic storm, a power's gone. A painting requires nothing but sight...

Yes I know, musuems burn down (ask Klimt) and anicent work is buried by invading armies....but it seems harder to get rid of something real then something made of intagables.

Of course, I don't feel this way about the perfume industry...all that chemistry to create acutal etheria.

So, maybe its just a sentimental senusualist side of me. I want to be able to see the hand of the artist....get up close and study the brushwork (Linseed oil gives a painting different smell then varnish....) But is it possible to stop the conversion of all things, music, art, storytelling, commication, into pure, capricous light?

The latest technology (after biomed) is optics. Photonic cystals able to control single photons/waves. Experts predict it will revolutionize the computer yet I guess the genie is out of the bottle.



Posted by: JLeavitt on August 2, 2003 11:28 AM

"Real" pictures have their points, sure -- texture and odor and all that. But to say computer art doesn't exist overstates the case by a pretty long stretch. In fact one thing we programmers soon learn is that it's far harder to kill a piece of working code than it is to preserve it, especially since you can send copies of it to as many electronic preserves as you like at virtually zero cost. Computer art "exists," of course, only in the eye of the viewer, who is ultimately responsible for its recreation; in that respect it is precisely like all other art.

It'll take a lot more than a few magnetic storms and power outages to get rid of the stuff; and if the power goes out in the museum, you can't see the pictures there very well either.

Posted by: Aaron Haspel on August 2, 2003 1:38 PM

Its more a general dislike of the modern computer art "look" then anything else. Everything looks so flat and clean and floating. I can't see the hand, as it where.


Posted by: JLeavitt on August 2, 2003 9:00 PM

Okay, Michael, 'fess up: you spend a lot of time discussing the shortcomings of digital imagery, but put a little animation on it and you're in love. What gives? Why doesn't this stuff seem flat and soul-less?

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on August 3, 2003 1:31 AM

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